Call of Duty: BLOPS4 servers running at 20Hz
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 has broken records around the world as the latest iteration in this popular first-person shooter brings back what most of us loved about Call of Duty. Feet on the ground, all-out combat. However, with every new game, there are a few issues. Players have started noticing that the hit registration on servers is not what it’s supposed to be. In fact, some noticed that beta (the testing before the release) was actually a lot better. If you feel the same, you’re not wrong.
One player, who put his findings on Reddit as Smcro, did a deep dive into the latest Call of Duty and uncovered some interesting things about the servers. He put his findings on Reddit, but for you reading pleasure, we’ve listed them below:
I was doing a bit of testing with Wireshark to see where the multiplayer servers were located and I noticed that the server send rate is 20hz instead of the 60hz value it was at in the beta.
Here is some terminology that I will be using below:
- Client: your system (PS4/Xbox/PC).
- Server: Treyarch's system through which all clients (players) in a match connect.
- Send rate: rate at which update packets are sent between systems. This is also known as update rate and is commonly confused with tick rate which is something entirely different.
- Tick rate: the rate at which the game itself is simulated on a system.
- Client send rate: rate at which a client sends updates to the server.
- Server send rate: rate at which the server sends updates to a client.
Battle(non)sense made a video back in August concerning the multiplayer beta where he showed that both the client and server send rates were ~60hz (i.e. each send 60 updates per second) for multiplayer. However, my testing for the most-recent update (as of October 19th) shows that the server send rate has been cut down to 20hz. For a bit of context, instead of receiving information from the server every frame (given that the game runs at 60fps on console), you will be receiving information every third frame (50ms between each update at 20hz as opposed to ~16.7ms at 60hz).
I performed the testing with Wireshark where I measured the send rate in each direction between the server and my system based on the packets sent to and from the server. I connected to 7 different multiplayer servers (in four different locations) and each showed a client send rate of 60hz and server send rate of 20hz. My testing was performed on a PS4 Pro with a wired, fiber connection.
Here is an imgur album with a graph for each server where the send rates are plotted against time. The red data is the client send rate and the green data is the server send rate. The points in time where the send rates drop down are intermissions.
The servers that I connected to can be viewed on a map here. I connected to a dedicated server every match. I had quite a high ping to the New Jersey servers and a lower ping everywhere else. Something to point out is that the in-game ping graph showed a 50-60ms ping to the California and Illinois servers, but a ping from my computer to those same servers is 12-13ms. I'm not sure what causes such a mismatch there (if not the processing delay on the server).
The server send rate has been lowered from 60hz to 20hz causing more inconsistency compared to the beta due to the fact that there is (on average) triple the amount of time between server updates. Also, it would seem that matchmaking sometimes chooses servers that are undesirable in terms of latency. It would be nice to have the ability to whitelist server locations which give the best experience to prevent this from happening.
These results are (for now) valid only on PS4 as I do not have access to the other platforms. I'd assume they are the same, but you never know. I'd be interested to see if anyone finds different results than I did on other platforms.
As a side note, the Blackout client send rates have been upped to 60hz. The Blackout server send rates fluctuate from 40hz as the match starts down to 20hz (with frequent jumps up to 25-30hz) after that. I was not getting consistent results here-- in some matches the server send rate averaged 15hz dipping as low as 10hz.
Any avid FPS player will tell protest that server tick rate can be the deciding factor in any match. 60Hz is the standard, however the latest COD seems to be only 20Hz. This is now confirmed by the in-depth research done by Smcro. Have you noticed any issues?